Ritzy locales (Seattle included) require at least close to a million bucks for comfortable retirement

May 18th, 2022 | By | Category: Spotlight

Location, location, location.

It’s no surprise that where you live would make a big difference in how much money you need to retire there. What is interesting, frightening or reassuring (pick your adjective) is just how big of a nest egg retirees need to retire in various locales.

To provide more specifics, MagnifyMoney researchers calculated how much money is required, on average, to retire in every U.S. metro based on average annual spending. Analysts found 28 metros —half of them in California — where retirees need at least $1 million to retire with an average lifestyle.

Seattle is just outside the “millionaires club.” Retiring in the Emerald City requires a nest egg of $995,000, which ranks 30th on the MagnifyMoney list. Other Washington metro areas that are ranked include Bremerton (52nd at $898,847 ), Olympia (54th at $895,528), Bellingham (124th at $781,000), Mount Vernon ($777,718), Wenatchee (165th at $746,192), Kennewick ($731,258), Walla Walla (212th at $708,000), Spokane (240th at $696,413), Longview (244th at $694,753), and Yakima (298th at $659,908). Tacoma doesn’t show up on the list.

Here are some retirement pricetags, on average, for other metropolitan areas around the country:

  • You’ll need more than $1 million to retire with an average lifestyle in 28 of the 384 U.S. metros. A retiree in San Francisco needs a nest egg of $1,564,760 — the highest total across the U.S.
  • 14 of the 28 metros in which retirees need more than $1 million to retire are in California. San Jose ($1,424,081) and Santa Cruz ($1,351,937) join San Francisco in the top five metros across the U.S.
  • You can retire with an average lifestyle for less than $500,000 in just one metro–Jackson, Tenn., at $495,942. Danville, Ill. ($510,202), and two Texas metros (McAllen and Brownsville, both $513,406) are closest.
  • Locals may need far less to maintain their incomes near retirement age once they collect Social Security payments. If you focus on the median income of near-retirement workers rather than average spending by retirees, residents in just three metros would require more than $1 million to retire — San Jose, Calif., San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

Are you saving enough for retirement? The answer will depend largely on where you plan to retire, and whether the amount you should be saving is more enormous than other locales. And if an average lifestyle won’t cut it, you’ll need to save even more. But if those numbers make your eyes bulge, there’s good news in Texas, Tennessee, and Arkansas, where only about $500,000 is needed at a combined five metro areas.

For the Magnify Money study, analysts based the amount required to retire on the average amount retirees spend in a year in each metro. Researchers calculated the pretax income needed to meet retirees’ average annual spending in these locales, based on federal and state taxes. Then analysts subtracted the average retirement Social Security benefits in that state to figure out how much annual income a person would need from their retirement fund to meet those spending needs. The nest egg size was determined using the 4% rule — a formula where you withdraw 4 percent of your total assets in the first year of retirement, then adjust that amount each year based on inflation.

Seattle is just outside the “millionaires club” of most-expensive U.S. metropolitan areas for retirement.

Source: Magnify Money, an online source of financial information for consumers. Its parent company is Lending Tree.

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